And a beginning.
The last Saturday of the holidays.
And back to it on Monday.
I have had a great holiday. I have caught up with lots of good friends and connected with my family, closest and wider. I have been to Harry Potter Studios, Cambridge, Dorset, The Larmer Tree Festival, Ben Nevis and the Edinburgh Fringe.
I have some new body art.
I have had reunions with friends not seen since 1989, 1992 and 2007 and it has been wonderful. So much has happened and changed in the meantime yet connection, friendship, love and understanding have remained.
I managed to complete a draft of my final ‘Into Headship’ assessment. It is far from finished and far from perfect but it will do for now.
Working for that has re-invigorated my desire to be a head teacher, to run a school. I have a new source of inspiration, having read “Leading the Strategically Focused School: Success and Sustainability” by Brent Davies.
How can you not admire someone who writes as follows?
“Education is a wonderful challenge. The challenge is to give every child the opportunity to learn and develop. We might consider that children are the messages we send intothe future. Clearly, we need to send good messages.”
“In setting the direction of the school, the way that leaders interpret externally-imposed requirements is a moral and curricular issue about the purpose of education. Obeying orders ‘from on high’ to the detriment of children’s education is a moral choice. In discussions, leaders often use the leadership mantra approach and ask, ‘What is in the best interests of the children?’ to determine what moral stance to take. Establishing a value system and set of beliefs for the school provides the moral template on which to judge current and future decisions and the direction of the school.”
I have cleaned the house.
I have done bits of preparation for the new term and blitzed my office.
Yesterday, I went to Alloa and did a piece of video work for an online resource for Scottish Autism.
I have walked or cycled every day except two.
I have blogged and kept an eye on Twitter but gone for the #teacher5aday and #summerofmildrebellion threads rather than anything too serious.
(Thanks so much to @MissVicki_V, @rondelle10_b and @Dorastar1)
I have particularly loved reading blog posts from @jw_teach @JarlathOBrien, @nancygedge and @JulesDaulby.
On the whole my work-life balance has been healthy and ‘life’ has come out on top.
I have switched off and pieced myself back together after running myself into the ground last year – as all teachers do. But I did find it harder to switch off this year. I found it hard to stop and when I did, I found myself in some pretty difficult places.
I realised that I needed to take a bit of a harder look. To do some ‘work’ of a different kind.
So, inspired by both Rob Macmillan’s amazing blog https://robfmac.com/ , Dr Tim O’ Brien’s book ‘Inner Story’ and Matt Haig’s ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’, I have written my story this summer. It is long. It is indulgent. But more than anything else, it is honest.
I am not sure that I will ever be able to make it public in the way that Rob has. I would like to, as I believe that it may help others who struggle with things going on in their head. But I am not sure that I am brave enough. A comment from someone a few months back suggesting that maybe my blog is ‘too’ honest has made me cautious.
Having written my story is a big step for me, though. A step towards greater honesty about who I am and why I behave and feel the way I do. A step towards acknowledging my vulnerability and my strength.
It is important to be honest with others but out first commitment must be to achieve honesty with ourself. Our self.
In writing, I have spotted some patterns, noticed some common themes and realised that I need to make some changes.
I know, I know.
I have said it before, made the resolutions, made the 5 a day pledges, been a wellbeing guru.
And at the time, I meant every word I said.
But as I sit here, on my 47th birthday, I mean it again.
Here’s a toast to wellbeing. To being well. To staying well.